Strong Money Australia is a blog laser-focused on helping people reach Financial Independence, so they can start living life on their own terms.
I show readers how to build financial strength, by learning to save way more money while still living a great life.
And explaining in simple terms how readers can create an income stream from investments to live on, so they can Retire Early or move onto new adventures.
Sound good? Then hit subscribe below and join the Financial Independence movement!
Now, you might be surprised to know that you can actually reach Financial Independence (FI) in 10 years or less. No that’s not a typo! It all depends on your savings rate.
I’m here to tell you this is entirely possible, having just reached this point at the age of 28.
Throughout this blog, I share exactly what I’ve learned on my journey and the steps taken to reach FI at such a young age. More importantly, I describe what I’d do differently starting from scratch today!
And of course, this blog has an Australian focus, giving readers guidelines, tips and strategies unique to Aussie conditions.
Many readers are already well on their way to Financial Independence. If you want to put yourself in a Strong Money position too, then stick around – you’re in the right place!
Why Did I Start A Blog?
It’s my firm belief that the world would be a much better place if everyone could live on their own terms, free from money problems and the self-inflicted stress that comes from not knowing how to make better financial decisions.
People would then be free to spend their time helping others, while working on worthwhile projects and projects.
At the end of the day, if you didn’t need money, how would you live?
One of the best ways to spend your newfound time, would be to help others and make a difference in the world, even if it’s only small.
This blog is my attempt at using my time efficiently to help others.
I want readers readers to create freedom in their own lives, so they can devote energy to things they truly enjoy, like projects or businesses that help yet more people, all while having more space for family, health and free time.
This flow on effect will have everyone working on worthwhile projects and leading satisfying lives. Not just waiting for their next pay packet.
I want to pass on the lessons I’ve learned, helping you reach Financial Independence as soon as you can, allowing you create your the free and meaningful life you want to live.
Get all the latest life-changing FI content, simply by signing up below…
My Journey to Financial Independence
Living near Perth when I was 19, I became quite disillusioned with work. I looked around and noticed many people didn’t seem happy.
Working every week just to pay bills, with no end in sight. So I quickly decided that’s not how I want to live. There must be another way!
It then became obvious, the only way to escape this treadmill was to become wealthy. And the best way to achieve that was investing.
Like many people, I was uncomfortable with shares, due to the irrational price movements. So property investing was the natural choice.
After realising I had to do something to change my future, I built a little pot of savings by age 20. I lived in a share house, worked overtime regularly, and still enjoyed myself.
Saving and Investing
Soon after, I met my partner and moved in with her in the suburban Perth.
I kept living simply and saved a hefty portion of my wage. By age 23, I’d purchased two properties with savings.
That same year, my partner also purchased a property with her savings. Luckily, she too bought into the idea of financial independence.
We both earned decent wages – around $75,000 on average, before tax. Importantly, we managed to contain our living expenses at $45,000 per year on average, where our spending still sits today.
This dual income is around $115,000 after tax, meaning we were saving $70,000 per year.
If you plug that into a compound interest calculator and add a return of 7% per annum, in 10 years you’ll have just under $1 million.
Saving that much probably sounds crazy to you. But it’s really quite simple.
Our strategy? Simply don’t buy stuff we don’t need. And in a wealthy and beautiful country like Australia, that turns out to be a lot of stuff!
Basically, it’s about being efficient.
More home cooking, less restaurants. More local holidays, less international. More homemade lattes, less café trips.
We also purchased a weights setup, allowing us to workout from home, saving time, avoiding gym memberships and unnecessary driving.
In short, we found a way to optimise each category of spending to get the most benefit for the lowest cost. You can find our exact living expenses here.
Small increments here and there add up to a mountain of cash that most people never bother to think about.
We learned that humans don’t need much to live a happy life. Another key point is stepping back and realising how good we already have it in Australia – compared to other parts of the world, and historically. This enables sensible spending, large savings and fast wealth building.
Being quite a bit older than me, my partner was a long-time homeowner. After our first few purchases, we decided to join our finances and use equity in her house to buy more property.
We still had plenty of spare cashflow from our jobs, which we saved and combined with growing equity to increase our portfolio.
By 2014-15, we’d maxed out our borrowing, but still had savings each month to invest.
That’s when I came across a slightly different form of investing in shares – investing for dividends. To me, this made a lot of sense!
After doing some more research, making a few investments and receiving a few dividend payments, I was hooked!
Simply buy a parcel of shares in a good company or index fund, and it spits out increasing sums of money at you over time.
See more on my investment philosophy here – Should You Invest For Income Or Growth?
By 2016, we realised how simple and effective this was, and if our equity was put into dividend-paying shares, we could retire soon.
Strong dividend yields and franking credits mean you earn a vastly higher income compared to rent from property, especially after expenses and maintenance.
We continued buying dividend-paying shares, and in late 2016, we decided to begin slowly selling our properties, with the proceeds going into shares.
Then, in early 2017, we left work, around my 28th birthday. And we finally got our lives back!
At a rough guess, we made around $800k from saving and investment gains over 9 years, and the rest was the existing equity my partner had.
Fortunately we ended up with more than the earlier example, and more than we needed, when including the equity my partner had.
So I worked hard, but I got lucky too!
Our properties performed okay on average, even including leverage. But the real magic ingredient was saving.
Try the 10 year calculation for yourself (using any compound interest calculator), and you’ll see how the vast majority of the result comes from saving.
As we continue transitioning into shares, we use some of the money to live on, while the dividend stream keeps building.
I’m completely sold on long-term dividend focused investing. My favourite types of investments are low-cost diversified funds that I can hold forever and simply collect the growing income.
These days, we continue to live our simple and happy life. And lately we’ve even started doing some part-time work… because we want to, not because we have to.
That’s the powerful shift that comes with saving and reaching financial independence!
To get started on your own journey, simply head over to the Start Here page.
You can also check out this podcast, where I share my story in much more detail.
And to get all my latest content as soon as it comes out, enter your email below, and we’ll talk soon 🙂